“Narcotweets”: Social Media in Wartime

The 6th Intl. Conference on Weblogs and Social Media (ICWSM) |

This paper describes how people living in armed-conflict environments use social media as a participatory news platform, in lieu of damaged state and media apparatuses. We investigate this by analyzing the microblogging practices of Mexican citizens whose everyday life is affected by the Drug War. We provide a descriptive analysis of the phenomenon, combining content and quantitative Twitter data analyses. We focus on three interrelated phenomena: general participation patterns of ordinary citizens, the emergence and role of information curators, and the tension between governmental regulation and drug cartel intimidation. This study reveals the complex tensions among citizens, media actors, and the government in light of large-scale organized crime.